Ahead of World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2022 – 28 April Thursday, look at these 15 easy wins to boost health and safety in the warehouse workplace.
We know that health and safety can often be a dull subject, but it doesn’t have to be. The good news is a lot of it is common sense!
Working in a warehouse creates numerous health and safety risks that need to be controlled. If not, your warehouse may face high employee turnover, underperforming staff, injuries and illnesses, lost working days, legal issues, and, at worst, fatalities.
Employers, supervisors, and managers are legally required to implement and maintain safety procedures. Safety measures must protect workers from warehouse hazards and ensure that they can carry out work activities safely.
Promoting thorough warehouse safety procedures shows that you value staff wellbeing and want to do things right, which boosts motivation and increases trust in leadership.
As we’re into warehouse storage, let’s start with…
Pallets and Racking
Most warehouses require staff to load and unload pallets on racking either hand or machinery. Your workers must carry these tasks out safely so they don’t drop pallets on people, affect racking stability or damage other equipment.
- Train staff to load pallets securely. Use shrink or stretch wrapping to support pallets and follow a suitable stacking pattern as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Ensure staff follow the manufacturer’s safe stacking height and weight capacity. They should stack them evenly, with heavier pallets on the bottom.
- Instruct staff to inspect each pallet before use. Pallets should not contain loose nails, splinters, cracks, or other issues.
- Ensure staff do not use pallets or forklift trucks to access heights. They should use a ladder or suitable equipment to reach higher shelves.
- Only allow staff to drive vehicles if they have received practical training. No one under the age of 18 should operate a forklift.
- Ensure staff avoid reversing wherever possible. Set up a one-way system and plan routes so drivers can always see where they’re going. If drivers can’t avoid reversing, make sure they have someone to spot them or other visibility support.
- Maximise visibility. Set up mirrors to aid the driver’s vision when manoeuvring corners or reversing. Make sure people working on the warehouse floor know to look both ways when they leave an aisle.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Apart from the obvious – e.g. ensuring staff know how to clean up spillages, remove obstructions from paths, keep cables tidied away, displaying warning signs etc., consider:
- Use anti-slip paint. It prevents dust from building up, reduces the slipping quality of the floor surface, minimises wear and tear, and improves cleaning.
- Use anti-slip tape and shoes. Tape is useful for stairs and other areas where you can’t use anti-slip paint, while non-slip soles help people remain safe even if they encounter a slip hazard.
- Train staff to safely work at height. Ladder safety is critical because misuse or use of an unstable ladder can lead to severe injury or even death.
Beyond damaging your warehouse and harming people, fires lead to the loss of valuable resources and production time. Many businesses never fully recover from a severe fire.
- Ensure you have installed emergency lighting. Fire escape routes, exits, and signs need to be well-lit so people can see them from a distance and navigate safely.
- Handle materials safely. Staff need to ensure they clear away boxes and packaging and handle hazardous substances with extreme care. Make sure you know how to store chemicals safely in a warehouse.
As well as being a legal requirement, staff must understand how to work safely with warehouse equipment and uphold health and safety control measures. Consider the following:
- Provide practical and technical training to workers. For example, practical training should cover how to use forklifts safely. Technical training – such as Health and Safety Training For Employees – makes them aware of the various types of hazards in the workplace and how to minimise them. Staff may also need other specific training, such as ladder safety.
- Take training yourself—for example, courses such as Health and Safety Training For Managers, which covers each essential safety topic in detail.
Most importantly, make sure workers know to report hazards immediately to you or another senior staff member. Swift reports enable you to take action to correct issues and keep your warehouse safe.
We can help with all areas of warehouse healthy and safety. Any design will always incorporate health and safety features. Outside of this, we can also provide signage and all warehouse accessories to ensure your warehouse runs safely, efficiently and happily.. Get in touch.